III. Letter Closing (13:11–13)

Paul closes with a series of brief exhortations that recapitulate the major concerns of the entire letter (v. 11). The first can be translated in several plausible ways: Aim for perfection (niv); “Mend your ways” (rsv, neb); “Pull yourselves together” (Barrett, 342); “Be restored” (Furnish, 581); or “Put things in order” (nrsv). The same Greek root in 13:9 seems to remind the Corinthians to be prepared for his visit by having their moral house in order and the collection in hand. The second exhortation, Listen to my appeal probably identifies the rhetorical goal of the letter as deliberative (cf. 10:1; Heb. 13:22). That is, he hopes to persuade them to heed his advice. The third and fourth appeals, to be of one mind and live in peace remind Paul's readers of the theme of reconciliation prominent in the early chapters of the letter and his advice for them to resolve their internal community problems (see 12:20). The appeal to greet one another with a holy kiss (v. 12) calls for a visible symbol of reconciliation; in the ancient world to greet fellow community members with a kiss signified mutual acceptance and respect. The letter concludes with a trinitarian prayer-wish (13:14).

Bibliography

Barrett, C. K. A Commentary on the Second Epistle to the Corinthians. HNTC. New York: Harper & Row, 1973.

Furnish, Victor Paul. II Corinthians. AB. Vol 32A. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1984.

Héring, Jean. The Second Epistle of Saint Paul to the Corinthians. Trans. A. W. Heathcote and P. J. Allcock from the 1st ed. in the Commentaire du Nouveau Testament. London: Epworth, 1967.

Martin, Ralph P. 2 Corinthians. WdBC. Vol. 40. Waco: Word, 1986.